How to cut your electricity costs this winter

Electricity usage in the UK is 36% higher on average during winter and with millions of people continuing to work from home for the long-term, bills are expected to rise even higher this season.

With half the amount of daylight compared to summer months and temperatures averaging 5.3°C from December to January, it’s no surprise we spend longer indoors – making more cups of tea, turning more lights on and watching more TV. 

The rapid rise in smart meter installation across Great Britain has gone some way towards educating homeowners and tenants about their electricity usage – and even changed behaviours – but there may be some golden nuggets of information that could help you further.  

Here, we share some additional insights that will help you reduce your electricity bill this winter. Some of them might surprise you!

  • Bigger appliances cost more money to run

The bigger your TV screen, the higher your electricity bill. The more water in the kettle, the more you will pay for that coffee. And if you were thinking of investing in a desktop PC to aid home-working, think again. A laptop can cost 85% less to run in comparison.  

With household appliances, it’s a good idea to find out how much they cost to run and check the EU Energy Label. Many household appliances, including fridges, dishwashers, washing machines and televisions, will be rated A+++ to G (although reverting back to A-G by 2021). The lower the rating, the less energy efficient it will be to run so think about upgrading the appliance or using it less. 

  • Location, location…and load

To maximise the energy efficiency of an appliance, it must be in the right place with the right contents. Many appliances have a climate class, meaning there is a specific type of atmosphere in which it will operate optimally. Fridges and freezers, for example, shouldn’t be placed in overly warm rooms, in direct sunlight or too close to a wall. Neither should they be overloaded or iced up. 

Similarly, a dirty or clogged appliance can use up a lot more power than intended, so ensure the washing machine and tumble dryer filters are clear of fluff and gunk, and ovens and hobs regularly de-greased. If you have to use a tumble dryer, untangled clothes will dry quicker. 

  • There’s off and there’s ‘off off’

We all know not to leave our appliances on standby as power drawn from such devices can account for 10% of our electricity bill each year. However, sometimes that’s not enough. Ever felt your phone charger when your phone isn’t plugged in? Still feel warm? Because it’s still consuming electricity. You need to go one step further and ensure as many appliances as possible are ‘off off’ and by that, we mean unplugged. You can still record TV shows with your TV unplugged but do leave your set-top box on.

  • It’s not just water that can leak

Yes, electricity can leak too – well, kind of. Faulty wiring or appliances can cause abnormal electricity consumption. It’s tricky to prove and find the source but if you are worried that your usage is coming in much higher than it should be, it’s worth investigating. 

  • The energy price cap doesn’t stop you being overcharged 

In January 2019, the energy price cap was introduced to ensure fairer energy prices for consumers who were on default and standard variable rate tariffs. As it stands, most variable rates are lower than the energy price cap anyway, and according to 2019 figures from Ofgem, more than half of UK households are still on a default or standard variable rate tariff – the most expensive type of tariff. Switching to a fixed-rate tariff is still the best way to save money – more than £300 a year on average, in fact. 

So, whether you’re looking to rent a furnished property, are buying a home with some appliances included or simply want to save money,  check energy ratings, tariffs and the off switch to lower your electricity bill. Contact us if you’d like more information.